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Vuelta expands women’s race to three days

With the arrival of a title sponsor, a trio of stages will be featured in a route set for early November to close the women's WorldTour.

The Challenge by La Vuelta will expand to three days in 2020, and cap the end of the revised women’s WorldTour season.

Founded in 2015 as a one-day circuit race in Madrid, it expanded to two days in 2018 and 2019 with a time trial and road stage. Backed by new sponsor Ceratizit Ibérica, the race will run November 6-8 on a route that will be finalized in the coming weeks.

“We believe in this race, and we’ll keep growing together,” said Vuelta director Javier Guillén. “The health crisis has impacted cycling, from the professional ranks to the base level. We consider it our obligation and responsibility to do with what’s in our hands to help the sport that has helped us.”

The announcement comes as a salve for women’s racing, which has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. Several races have decided not to hold their events in 2020, while others have been rescheduled as part of a revised racing calendar set to resume in August.

The arrival of a new race title sponsor also confirms the growing interest in women’s racing by Vuelta-owner ASO, which also owns the Tour de France. ASO confirmed it is looking at creating a stand-alone women’s Tour de France, perhaps set to debut in 2022. A first-ever women’s Paris-Roubaix is scheduled for October.